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Abdullah Ibrahim – A Struggle for Love
Germany 2005 Digital 58min
Dir: Ciro Cappellari

CT:
 Sun 17 / 8:15pm
Thurs 21 / 6pm
Fri 29 / 10:30pm

JHB:
Sun 7 / 6pm
Sat 13 / 6pm

The inimitable Abdullah Ibrahim, a.k.a. Dollar Brand, is the gentle subject of this insightful biography. Most specifically celebrated for Mannenberg, and undoubtedly an international musical legend, Ibrahim teaches us his holistic view of the world, where healing and transformative music is inspired by the formless form of nature and becomes a medium to reconnect the soul to the past and the future.

 

Now living in Cape Town after years of exploration and exile, Ibrahim’s sensitive meditations and rousing compositions accompany us through his historical, emotional and spiritual achievements. We follow his escape from Cape Town and his “discovery” by Duke Ellington in Switzerland. We venture from New York to music rooms in the Cape Flats and on to the KKNK festival. Everywhere music plays, and the spirit of Ibrahim is celebrated.

 


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Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan
Canada, Kyrgyzstan 2004 Digital 50min subtitled
Dir: Petr Lom

CT:
Sun 17 / 4pm
Wed 20 / 8:30pm  

JHB:
Fri 12 / 6pm

In the tiny republic of Kyrgyzstan there is an ancient tradition that, although illegal, still endures. When a man achieves the right age, and decides to marry, he will abduct the girl of his, or his family’s, choice. It might be a girl he is dating or a stranger who catches his eye on the street. Once he has decided, the prey is captured, loaded into a car, brought to the house of her prospective in-laws, and persuaded to stay by the women folk. Four women are kidnapped during the course of this fascinating but startling documentary. Torn between tradition, family honour and education, each kidnapped girl’s rite towards acceptance or refusal is sensitively captured, as are her anguish and tears and the tense negotiations that ensue between the two families.

 

Courtesy of Films Transit International Inc.


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Bunso [the Youngest]
Philippines 2004 Digital 64 min subtitled
Dir: Ditsi Carolino

CT:
Tues 19 / 6:15pm
Wed 27 / 8:15pm

JHB:
Sun 7 / 6:15pm
Wed 10 / 8:30pm

Set in the sub-human world of a Filipino jail, three charming, funny and impish minors Tony (age 13), Diosel and Bunso (ages 11) are the prison mascots of hardened murderers and rapists. Jailed for petty theft these children, who are the result of poverty, alcoholic and physical abuse, but mostly parental negligence, mingle freely with the adult inmates. Outside they fight on the street for food, attention and love. Inside they fight for rations, sleeping space and self-respect and each yearns for the cleansing magic of afternoon rain and a visit from a neglectful parent. Bunso is an immensely powerful and hauntingly personal film. A power harnessed in its concentration on the infectious, frank enthusiasm of the three boys as they navigate the raw, intolerable conditions of the day’s tedium.

 

Courtesy of the director


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Desert Wind
Switzerland,Canada 2004 Digital 80min subtitled
Dir: Franēois Kohler

CT:
Wed 27/ 8:30pm
Sat 30 / 7:45pm

JHB:
Wed 10 / 6pm
Sun 14 / 8pm

Seeking the spiritual vacuum of the Sahara’s minimalist expanse, thirteen men venture into the desert to acknowledge and exorcise their emotional scars and insecurities. Before they embark, they toss that which restrains them, emotionally and physically, into a bonfire. As the cold nights and the excruciating heat of the days unfold, so do their true personalities, especially when pitted against a backdrop of testosterone challenging tasks that include wrestling, emotional unburdening and physical acceptance in the form of naked exposure. This is a sensitive documentary about Gallic men coming to terms with their inner selves and, magnified against the vastness of the desert, the strength of each individual shines as in the company of his peers he releases his faults to the elements and comes to terms with his temporal self.

 

Courtesy of National Film Board of Canada and Swiss Films.


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The Fog of War
USA 2004 35mm 107min
Dir: Errol Morris

CT:
Mon 18 / 8:15pm
Sun 24 / 3:45pm
Wed 27 / 6pm
Sat 30 / 8pm

JHB:
Sat 6 / 7:45pm
Sun 14 / 4pm

In this frank and factually terrifying documentary, we sit before one of the most influential men of the twentieth century, Robert McNamara. Presenting an all too human face in an almost confessional manner, the film is structured around the “eleven lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara”. As the filmmaker probes the orchestrator of recent history’s most frightening and devastating moments, the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and the bombing of Japan during World War II, are succinctly revisited from the fresh view of an insider. Although discussing the past, and the vulnerability of momentous decisions made on gut instinct and luck, this documentary hauls the present state of the world and its all too human, and fallible, decision makers into sharp focus. It is a concise, fascinating and forcible lesson in the leaders we choose.


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Georgi and the Butterflies
Bulgaria 2004     35mm 60 min subtitled
Dir: Andrey Paounov

CT:
Wed 20/ 8:150pm
Tue 26 / 8:45pm
Sat 30 / 10:30pm

JHB:
Sun 7 / 4pm   
Sat 13 / 5:45pm

Just outside Sophia is the Home for Psychologically Challenged Men, housed in a 16th century monastery. Frustrated by the conditions his charges live in, the home’s administrative psychiatrist, Dr.Georgi Lulchev, embarks on a series of unconventional and enterprising schemes intended to boost the institution’s income and improve each patient’s quality of life. With indefatigable enthusiasm, Georgi launches into each new unconventional, yet ultimately hapless, project intending to produce pheasants, fur, ostrich or silk. Undaunted by his track record, Georgi’s passion ensures resolute optimism from his wife, the institution’s cook and his charges, each of whom are as endearingly perplexed as the next when every scheme fails. This is a tenderly amusing, compassionate portrait of an optimistic man whose well-intentioned entrepreneurial perseverance might just pay off … one day. 

 

Courtesy of AGITPROP.


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I am the Violin
Netherlands 2004 Digital 54min
Dir: Paul Cohen

 

 

CT:
Tues 19 / 6pm           
Sun 24 / 8pm

JHB: Mon 8 / 6:15pm    Sun 14 / 6:15pm

This is an affectionately intimate portrait of the singular talent and gentle eccentricity of the virtuoso violinist, Ida Haendel. Born in Poland, Ida was hailed as a musical genius at the age of three. Since then, her insular, if celebrated, life has been dominated by musical excellence. We meet this elegantly aging prodigy in her seventy-first year. A delicate balance of intimate interviews and archive footage introduces an extraordinary woman who fits into the concert dress she wore aged 18, reminisces fondly on her father, her upbringing and unrequited love for conductor Sergiu Celibidache, and continues to travel around the world, performing complicated concertos with sublime ease to packed auditoriums. She pits her performance and personality against displaying any debilitating signs of age, although her loyal Stradivarius betrays distressing signs of it.

 

Courtesy of IdtV Arts & Documentaries.


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The Kid Stays in the Picture
USA 2002 Digital 84min
Dir: Nanette Burnstein & Brett Morgan

CT:
Sat 16 / 10:15pm 
Fri 22 / 10:30pm   
Fri 29 / 8:30pm

JHB:
Fri 12 / 10pm

This artful, designer roller coaster ride of glamour and sleaze catapults the viewer through the rise-and-fall-and-crash-and-rise life trajectory of Robert Evans, the legendary Hollywood producer. By chance, Evans becomes a matinee idol in the mid-'50s. When his star begins to fizzle, he successfully transforms from a pretty boy actor into the most influential producer of his generation. Ailing Paramount Studios take a chance on his inexperience and as MD he is directly responsible for Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, The Godfather, Marathon Man and Chinatown, single-handedly ushering in the Hollywood renaissance of the '70s. With hilarious self-acknowledgement of his own monumental ego, Evans narrates this incandescent and mesmerising autobiography as it uncovers the tantrums, personalities and battles behind some of the greatest films of all time, and reveals the accompanying drugs, women and scandals of Beverly Hills.


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Kinsey
USA 2004 Digital 90min
Dir: Barak Goodman & John Maggio

CT:
Mon 18 / 6pm
Sat 23 / 10:30pm

In some way, we have all been touched by the sexual revolution of the 1960s; A revolution that was mainly due to the painstaking - scientific and practical - research of one scientist and his team. In this penetrating and enthralling film, we meet the real, contradictory man behind the controversy. Ignited by a repressed childhood, an awkward initiation into sex, an obsession with gall wasps and a desire to investigate his own confusing urges, Alfred Kinsey painstakingly and exhaustively interviewed tens of thousands of men and women about their sexual practices throughout the 1940s. His full-scale study of sexual behaviour was published in two explosive reports that brought national fame, notoriety and condemnation. And in this film, Kinsey is as fascinating as the subject that he helped liberate.

 

Courtesy of the directors.


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La Sierra
USA, Colombia 2004 Digital 84min subtitled
Dir: Scott Dalton & Margarita Martinez

CT:
Sun 17 / 8:30pm
Thurs 21 / 6:15pm
Mon 25 / 8pm

JHB:
Sat 6 / 5:45pm
Thurs 11 / 8:30pm

In La Sierra, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Medellin, life is ruled by paramilitary gangs where young men, just emerging from childhood, wage a bloody suburban war against sworn enemies. There is no political or ideological disagreement, just the necessity to fight for control of their home turf. Against this bleak backdrop of violent reckoning, we meet three young people. Edison is a charismatic 22-year old who wields devastating power over the Bloque Metro, his six children and their mothers, and the community. A one-armed 19-year old soldier, Jesus wants to live until his son is born and 17-year-old Cielo, a widowed mother, patiently visits her boyfriend in jail. La Sierra is an unflinching, yet intimate portrayal of the youths’ attitude to life that is so nonchalantly created and heedlessly taken away.

 

Courtesy of Films Transit International Inc.


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Last House Standing
China 2004 Digital 54min
Dir: Chao Gan & Zi Liang

SABC presents best of

CT:
Sat 23 / 6:15pm
Tues 26 / 8:15pm  

JHB:
Fri 12 / 7:30pm

 

Mr. Jiang is an obstinate, resolute and difficult old man. He is bitter about his family, suspicious of all acquaintances, and stuck in the outdated (western) customs of former decades. But he is touchingly attached to a 1930’s Shanghai mansion in which he has lived for 60 years. Together they have borne witness to the decadence of 1930's Shanghai and its liberation after the civil war, through the storms of the Cultural Revolution, to the immense changes occurring in modern day Shanghai. However, as he waits for the magnolia tree to blossom, Mr Jiang’s contemplation is disturbed by the looming threat of the wrecking ball. When the district is zoned for demolition, this poignant documentary captures the eccentric Mr Jiang as his security blanket unravels and he must face a life without his secrets.

 

Courtesy of the directors and SABC.


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Private Practices:

the story of a sex surrogate
USA 1986 Digital 75 min
Dir: Kirby Dick

CT:
Fri 22 / 10:30pm
Sat 23 / 8:30pm
Fri 29 / 10pm  

JHB:
Sun 14 / 6:30pm

Even though this documentary was made in 1986, it still tackles, in an astonishingly uncomplicated way, the resolution of fundamental social and individual insecurities.

Two men disclose their deep-seated fears to their psychiatrists. Both psychiatrists referred them to Marion Sullivan, a sex surrogate. John is going through a mid-life crisis. Both his two sexual partners – one of 20 years, the other of a few days - have referred to “his size”. Kipper is a young, cripplingly shy student who is terrified of the opposite sex. He lusts from afar, but does not possess the self-confidence to make the first move. Marion fits John and Kipper into her busy schedule for a four-month therapeutic period. Her explicit and educationally satisfying treatment is designed to introduce them to the joys of uninhibited sex, self-confidence and love.

 

Courtesy of the director.


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Ryan
Canada 2004 Digital 14min
Dir: Chris Landreth

SABC presents best of

Screens together with The Education of Shelby Knox

CT:
Fri 22 / 8pm   
Sun 31 / 6:30pm  

JHB: 
Sun 7 / 3:45pm

Winner of three awards at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Animated Short, Landreth’s impressive sketch is a ‘biography’ of Canadian animator, Ryan Larkin. Larkin was once a revolutionary animation hero who produced some of the most influential animated films of his time and inspired Landreth’s career. Today, due to his drug addition he is reduced to begging on the streets. Approached in an innovative way, this is a dazzling emotional eulogy to a past hero and the artistic genius that brought him glory, but cannot save his life and art from unravelling.

 

Courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada and SABC.


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Sentenced to Marriage
Israel 2004 Digital 65 min
Dir: Anat Zuria

SABC presents best of

CT:
Sat 23 / 8:15pm
Thurs 28 / 6pm  

JHB:
Sat 6 / 5:45pm   
Thurs 11 / 6:15pm

In the modern state of Israel, an archaic system exists. It traps women in loveless, adulterous or abusive marriages for many years, even after both parties have acknowledged the marriage is over. This is because Israel only recognises religious marriages, and contended divorces must be granted by the paternally biased Rabbinical Court. In this absorbing, enlightening documentary, three very different, young, intelligent women and mothers, Tamara, Rachel and Michelle, persist through an inflexible legally mandated religious system to rid themselves of the husbands who, out of sheer spite, refuse to set them free. One organisation of courageous religious attorneys assists them, committed to fighting the injustice through the courts. Reflecting the desperation and frustrating limbo of thousands of Israeli women, the wait challenges Tamara’s faith, Michelle’s mother’s patience, and Rachel’s sanity.

 

Courtesy of … and SABC.


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Shape of the Moon
Netherlands 2004 Digital 92 min
Dir: Leonard Retel Helmrich

CT:
Fri 22 / 6pm   
Sat 30 / 5:45pm  

JHB:
Sat 6 / 7:45pm   
Mon 8 / 8:30pm

Three generations of Indonesians live a harmonious, emotionally generous life in a cramped, textured neighbourhood of Jakarta. But Jakarta is changing,  and this understated, beautiful film follows one family as they navigate the various partitions that threaten the country’s sanity. Supposedly united by diversity, Indonesia is rapidly becoming divided between urban and rural, old world and new, Muslim and Christian.

Rumidja is a Christian widow who looks after her granddaughter, Tari. Also living with them is the irreverent joker Bakti. As he roams their tight-knit community gambling, drinking and, literally, putting out fires, Bakti is scathing of Muslim traditions, a problem in an increasingly militant Islamic community. The raw and atmospheric camera perfectly captures the lyrical nature of Indonesia and its people, as Rumidja must make difficult, life-altering decisions when urban life looses its original appeal.

 

Courtesy of Scarabee Films.


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The Shutka Book of Records
Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro 2005 Digital 78min subtitled
Dir: Aleksandar Manic

CT:
Sat 16 / 6:15pm
Thurs 21/ 8:30pm 
Mon 25 / 8:15pm

JHB:
Sat 13 / 8pm

This delightful, madcap documentary celebrates the idiosyncratic characters that make up Shutka, a Macedonian town home to the largest Rom (Gypsy) community in the Balkans.

These fiercely combative people compete to have the biggest cassette collection, most suits, strongest gander, fastest dove and the sweetest canary. They also declare they have seen the scariest vampire, are the most sophisticated, the oldest father, and are possessed by the most determined genie. We meet tattooed Uncle Muzo who compiles the first Roma dictionary and composes love songs, Cousin Jasha and Didara, The Terminator, who both specialise in exorcising evil genies, and Uncle Suljo, the satellite dish selling vampire hunter; among a host of fascinating oddball characters. Still steeped in their superstitious culture, their love of competition, music and laughter is beautifully captured in the cheerful interviews of our irreverent guide, Doctor Koljo.

 

Courtesy of the director.


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Sight (Without Seeing)
France 2004 Digital 89min
Dir: Marie Mandy

SABC presents best of

CT:
Sun 17 / 5:30pm
Thurs 28 / 8:30pm  

JHB:
Sat 13 / 7:45pm

Questioning how we would react to a world without the subtleties of light, colour and form, which define our seeing world, this touching film plunges us into the fascinating reality of blind and partially-sighted people. Taking us way beyond the limitations of the purely visual, we are led into a sensorial world of alternate images, where seeing is not about shape and form, but about sound, touch, memory, emotion and exploration. This provocative and illuminating film uses of a wide range of highly effective techniques to gracefully illustrate the inner world and exterior awareness of the blind. It is also a philosophical reflection on the variety of levels and planes through which we engage and filter our reality.

 

Courtesy of the ARTE France and SABC


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Sisters in Law
United Kingdom / Cameroon 2005 35mm 104min
Dir: Kim Longinotto & Florence Ayisi

CT:
Sat 16 / 8pm
Thurs 21 / 8:15pm
Thurs 28 / 8:15pm   
Sun 31 / 8:15pm

JHB:
Tues 9 / 8pm   
Thurs 11 / 6pm   
Sun 14 / 8:30pm

Dispensing common sense justice, two women make an empowering difference to the people of Kumba, Cameroon. With very little pomp or ceremony, and buckets of sensitive humanity, State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa, and District Magistrate, Beatrice Ntuba preside over a monumental work-load.

 

Amina is a Muslim housewife who has dared to challenge her husband’s right to beat her and force himself on her. Sonita is a pre-pubescent girl who accuses a neighbour of raping her, and six-year-old Manka runs away to escape her violently brutal aunt.

 

Their forthright approach may make you gasp, even laugh, but the tragedy of the cases, and the severity of the sentences they hand down, provides anything but light entertainment. But the hope that their wisdom provides for women in a male dominated society is not only enlightening… it is uplifting.


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The Swenkas
Denmark 2004 35mm 72min
Dirs: Jeppe Rųnde

CT:
Sat 16 / 10:30pm
Mon 25 / 6pm

JHB:
Tues 9 / 8:15pm   
Fri 12 / 10:30pm

Every Saturday, in a dingy Jo’burg basement, groups of Zulu men gather in their most flamboyant outfits, dressed to impress and win a watch, a pot of money or, on special occasions, a cow. They compete before an impartial judge, performing with grace a preening dance of struck poses and foppish stances for the utmost glory, the title of the supreme Swenka. In this achingly gentle, transcendental film, we become embroiled in the human drama behind the posturing through a Zulu storyteller. One group is bereft by the death of its leader, but must hold itself together, if only to maintain its sense of purpose and encourage the leader’s devastated son, Sabelo, to continue. Because, for a Swenka, ‘the clothes maketh the man’ is not just an adage, it is a calling.

 

Courtesy of the Danish Film Institute.


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Ten
Iran, France

2002 35mm 97min subtitled
Dir: Abbas Kiarostami

CT:
Tues 19 / 8pm           
Fri 29 / 8pm

JHB:
Sun 7 / 8pm
Sat 13 / 10:15pm

This is a minimalist investigation into the daily life of a divorced and remarried housewife. It reveals the social defense mechanisms of the intelligent and articulate womanhood of Iran. The inspired medium is the car, which in Islamic Iran allows a fleetingly essential respite to resolve private problems away from the strictures of society. This accumulative film introduces Mania Akbari, whose quietly determined personality must navigate ten exposing conversations in as many car journeys. The main protagonists are her truculent son, her ultra-conservative sister, a luckless friend, a cynical prostitute and a religious pilgrim. The content of each journey is alternately heart wrenching, wise, antagonistic, seemingly futile, inquisitorial and supportive. Rich in content, emotion and self-discovery, this disarmingly simple concept encapsulates all the rigours and insecurities of adulthood.

 

Courtesy of the French Embassy


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The Education of Shelby Knox
USA 2004 Digital 75min
Dir: Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt

SABC presents best of

Screens together with Ryan

CT:
Fri 22 / 8pm
Sun 31 / 6:30pm

JHB:
Sun 7 / 3:45pm

America is split by the issue of sex, specifically sexual education. One side declares that ignorance leads to teen pregnancy, while the other side argues that sex education leads to experimentation and that abstinence is the only answer. The national debate becomes embroiled in the high moral posturing of politics and religion. Into the fray wades the spirited teenager and devout Southern Baptist, Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas. Shelby has pledged abstinence until marriage (one of 2.4 million pledgers). But Shelby’s community has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country, which can be reduced only if students receive comprehensive sex education. Braced with missionary zeal, Shelby’s campaign challenges her upbringing, her religious beliefs and the system, and transforms a compliant 15-year-old into a tough, compassionate young woman who is committed to social change.

 

Courtesy of Incite Pictures/Cine Qua Non, Inc. and SABC.


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Tintin and I
Denmark 2003   35mm 74 min subtitled
Dir: Anders Hųgsbro Ųstergaard

CT:
Mon 18 / 8:30pm
Sat 23 / 10:30pm

JHB:
Sat 6 / 10:30pm
Sat 13 / 10pm

The adventurous boy reporter Tintin was a childhood companion to most of us. His every quest filled our imaginations with other cultures, worlds and possibilities. First drawn in 1929, Tintin is now a global cult figure, but what truly lay behind Tintin’s world? This revelatory documentary uses extracts from the 1971 Sadoul interviews to delve with psychoanalytic detail into Tintin's subconscious by exploring the mind of his elusive creator, Hergé, who divulges Tintin’s history from its doubtful beginnings when it appeared in a right wing journal (and the repercussions for the author), to its popular global appeal. As the years pass, tarnished by politics but infused with the necessity for meticulous detail, Hergé identifies with and lives through Tintin’s characters. Alternately using them as his means of acceptance, his political escapism, and finally, as his own mental therapy.


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Why We Fight
USA 2005 35mm 98min
Dir: Eugene Jarecki

CT:
Tues 19 / 8:15pm
Fri 22 / 8:15pm
Sun 31 / 5:45pm

JHB:
Tues 9 / 6pm
Fri 12 / 8:15pm

In a brisk, factual and intelligent presentation, Jarecki investigates the past 50 years of US military history, contemplating the real reasons the US chooses to fight its wars. Casting aside crusades for democracy and the moral high ground, Jarecki asks if the US has fulfilled Dwight D. Eisenhower’s cautionary prediction in his farewell address of 1961. The address foretold the US’ present incestuous entanglement of politics, corporations, and the Defence Department. Jarecki tackles these contentious issues head on. He reveals Dick Cheney's connections to defence contractor Halliburton, and presents other contributing economic factors to America's foreign path. He analyses how 9/11’s impact on the national psyche became an accessory to the Pentagon. And how a nation allegedly of, by, and for the people has become the savings-and-loan of a system whose survival depends on a state of constant war.


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Winged Migration
USA 2002 35mm 89min
Dir: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud & Michel Debats

CT:
Sat 16 / 5:45pm
Wed 20 / 6pm
Sun 24 / 8:30pm
Sat 30 / 10:15pm

JHB:
Sat 6 / 10:15pm
Fri 12 / 6pm
Sun 14 / 4pm

A simple, but intimate journey in birds and flight, Winged Migration is an awesome feat of filmmaking. With visually breathtaking footage, every soaring beat of the wing is portrayed as the film follows the migration of birds over vast distances and offers a magical insight into the true life of birds. Working hard at survival, we see the birds as they eat, court, mate, and feed their young. They cover unbelievable distances from the Eiffel Tower to Monument Valley, from the remote reaches of the Arctic to the Amazon. As they wing the world’s wind currents we see each species strut, pose and lock bills in chest-thumping rituals, and view the tragedy of being trapped in industrial waste. This exquisite, powerful and majestic film unleashes the poetic wonders of the natural world.

 

Courtesy of the Danish Film Institute.


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